Damen Shipyards Group signed a contract late last year with Canada-based Group Ocean for the delivery of two Modular Multi Cats 1205. The vessels, which are made of standard, container-sized units for easy transportation anywhere in the world, will serve as dredging support vessels on an oil sands project in Canada. The agreement was struck during the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans in December 2017.

The Damen Multi Cat design is a versatile workboat with an extensive track record in many sectors. It is used for towing and anchor-handling, dive support, marine engineering, offshore energy operations and for dredging and dredging support operations. Details of equipment manufacturers were not released.

One of the Multi Cats was in stock already, so the first delivery will take place in February — less than three months after the signing of contract. The second vessel, which is being built at Damen Shipyards Kozle in Poland, will follow in the second quarter.

The oil sands tailings ponds where the Multi Cats will work is inland and not easily accessible by water. The modular nature of the vessels means that they can be easily transported to site by truck and then quickly assembled for operation on location. The modularity of the design also makes any future relocations straightforward.

Damen has a strong relationship with Group Ocean, dating back to 2011. The synergy between both companies has been proven during the first join project for the construction of Ocean’s first trailing suction hopper dredge, which Damen was providing all technical support and the steel/component package for the construction of the vessel at Ocean’s shipyard.

“In addition to the ease with which we can transport these vessels to inaccessible locations quickly and cost-effectively, Damen’s standardized shipbuilding process meant that they already had one of the vessels on stock for extremely fast delivery,” Tommy Theriault of Ocean Marine Works and Dredging said in a statement announcing the deal. “It will also allow us more flexibility for future development across Canada.”

“The speed with which we are able to deliver these vessels, as well as the convenience that results from modular construction, really goes to show the unique advantages of standardized shipbuilding as practiced at Damen,” Damen regional sales manager North American, Daan Dijxhoorn, said.

Group Ocean is headquartered in Quebec City and operates mainly in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and now in Western Canada. Group Ocean is one of the largest providers of marine solutions in Canada whose core businesses are towing, pilot boat operations, marine services, equipment rental and dredging.